My bite is worse than my bark? (Sharing about my spirit animal.)

As a kid growing up in a city, I always wanted to see a deer in the wild. When I finally did, the event proved powerful in the incongruity of its moment. It was unexpected. I was 19 and alone in a place I’d never imagined I’d be, in the thick of an equally unimaginable situation. Coming face-to-face with that deer seemed a magical development, and it was: it marked a turning point that ultimately changed the course of my life. It was like the deer had been sent as a sign of encouragement. We held our mutual gaze, and then we went our separate ways.

I’ve always loved animals and appreciated the connectedness we share as sentient beings, but my momentary interaction with this deer left me with a unique impression. It felt personal. To draw a comparison, I feel a deep connection with our wild horses here in Arizona, but I felt connected to the deer I encountered when I was 19 and living in a foreign country… as if the deer was a part of me.

Considering this, I thought it interesting recently when I took one of those fluffy “What’s my Spirit Animal” quizzes and found that my spirit animal is a deer. The description read:

“When you have the deer as spirit animal, you are highly sensitive and have a strong intuition. By affinity with this animal, you have the power to deal with challenges with grace. You master the art of being both determined and gentle in your approach. The deer totem wisdom imparts those with a special connection with this animal with the ability to be vigilant, move quickly, and trust their instincts to get out the trickiest situations.”

After my interaction with the deer, I did, in fact, go on to use my instincts to get myself out of a tricky situation – the tricky situation in which I was flailing at the time of our encounter.


Regardless of the extent of my belief in the meaningfulness of “spirit animals,” it was eye-opening to take this quiz from where I stand today. I may have taken 15 different “what’s my spirit animal” quizzes over the years and landed on 15 different species of critter, but where I am right now is in a place of processing some aspects of the past. “My” deer has turned up in poems and prose I’ve written since I encountered her, but she’s been at the front of my mind these last few years, especially. Coming up with a deer result on this silly online quiz seemed more than coincidental.

What really got me taking the notion of spirit animals seriously was the deer energy description I went on to find in Ravenari’s Animal Energy/Animal Guide Dictionary on Wildspeak dot com. If you know me…


[from wildspeak dot com]

“Muntjac deer – Bark and Bite


Having a bite that is worse than your bark, fighting for what’s yours, defending your territory, alertness, the power of observation, finely tuned instincts, letting others know that they’re in trouble, comparing yourself to others, surrender to the spirit, trust in nature.”

Yes, the deer is my spirit animal. The muntjac deer, to be precise.

I have to say that I do believe in spirit animals, now that I’ve taken a spirit-animal quiz in an introspective mind-frame. I couldn’t help but consider my result in the context of my one encounter with the animal in question. I thought about how I felt, and how that animal appeared in a moment that greatly impacted my life. For me, the quiz’s result was a revelation, more than a declaration.

[If you’re interested, this is the quiz I took]




The Spirit Animal Question (and my hair needs a cut)

Ever since I heard someone say that their spirit animal was Jackie Chan, I’ve been trying to figure out what mine is.

I used to think that my spirit animal was the wild horse, but that ended when I moved to France and found myself living with the presence of a gigantic horse that was on our land there. He wasn’t wild, but I think he was there to show me the error of my previous thinking and the extent of the unhorsey quality of my spirit. I still love the vision of running, wild horses… it’s just that the reality of being near a horse is different for me, I guess.

Exhibit A:


Clearly, I'm taken aback here. Also, this was taken in April (2013), and I remember how cold it was. I'm wearing a thick sweater under that jacket.

Clearly, I’m taken aback here. Also, this was taken in April (2013), and I remember how cold it was. I’m wearing a thick sweater under that jacket.


Look at the body language here! I’m not at ease. I’m smiling a little, but I’m leaning away from the horse, rather than toward him. He was a nice horse, though.

There was also a donkey there, and that was a totally different story. I adored that donkey. We called him Buddy.


Buddy! We often gave him treats. Here's Callaghan feeding him an apple.

Buddy! We often gave him treats. Here’s Callaghan feeding him an apple.


Our neighbor put a sign on the gate that proclaimed “Âne Mechant” (“Mean Donkey”), which we didn’t understand. That donkey was an absolute sweetheart.

Anyway, spirit animals. I’ve taken online quizzes that ALL tell me that my spirit animal is a wolf, but somehow, that doesn’t seem right. Something of the feline persuasion would make sense, but if anything, I feel more like an honorary cat due to being a cat mom. There’s a difference between being an animal and having that animal as a spirit animal. I can relate to the Wrah-Wrah better than I can relate to most people, but I don’t feel that I’m being led through life by a cat.

Okay! Different subject, since I came across this picture as I was going through my pictures from France in search of the horse and the donkey:


Me with short emo hair in France.

Me with short emo hair in France.


…and I do need to get my hair cut. Here’s a selfie I took by the elevator at work yesterday, specifically to see the length of my hair:


What is this length...

What is this length…


I’m not going to cut my hair short again, but I’m considering going for longish bangs, and maybe some long layers.

On that note, I’m off to get ready for work. Have a great day, guys!

In Every Bowl of Soup I See / Giraffes and Ligers Watching Me

(That’s based on Shirley Temple’s “Animal Crackers in My Soup,” in case you didn’t know.)

This post is brought to you by the eleventh orange I’ve eaten this week. Not the eleventh hour. The eleventh orange. I’m pretty sure that crime scene investigators could apply their crazy ninja forensics techniques to my laptop keyboard and uncover hard evidence of all eleven of those oranges, as careful as I am to avoid smudges.

Now, what was I going to share? Oh yes:

“A Giraffe totem corresponds to farsightedness and balance between earth and sky.” (Llewellyn)

I’ve been thinking that my so-called spirit animal must be the giraffe, since reading that quote has an oddly grounding, motivating effect on me. Now, when I close my eyes and envision the giraffe at the window of the safari bus in Arizona that one time, a feeling of centeredness comes rolling back. It works!

I remember when I thought that my spirit animal was the wild horse. I re-thought that whole thing when I discovered, not too long ago, that I’m actually kind of uneasy around horses. I’m still in awe of the wild horse spirit, but the reality of a horse and me standing together is just… I don’t know. It’s a hard thing to phrase, so, just to show you, here’s a picture of me with our neighbor’s horse in France back in April:


Pardon me. I just live here. Oh wait, this is a French horse, so... Je m'excuse. Now how do you say "I just live here" - "J'habite seulement ici?" Or "J'habite juste ici?" Not working. American slang doesn't translate! Nevermind.

Pardon me. I just live here. Oh wait, this is a French horse, so… Je m’excuse. Now how do you say “I just live here” – “J’habite seulement ici?” Or “J’habite juste ici?” Not working. American slang doesn’t translate! Nevermind.


See the body language dynamic going on there? This was a candid shot of a chance encounter. Callaghan captured a spontaneous moment, and looking at this picture brings back the awkwardness of it. That horse and I were both, like, uhhh… yeah. I just didn’t know how to relate to that guy. Have you ever felt self-conscious in front of a horse? (Surely I can’t be the only person who’s ever been discomfited in the presence of a horse.) I didn’t connect with that horse on any level. It was like he was the reincarnation of someone I used to know. Someone who used to fluster me at cocktail parties.

So, yeah, giraffes.

Speaking of animals, the other night, I was reading to Callaghan about the liger (lion-tiger hybrid) and her baby liligers (offspring of a liger and a lion) at the Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia.

“Check out this liger,” I said, shoving my laptop under his nose. “They actually exist outside of Napoleon Dynamite!” We started flipping through the slideshow.

“Look at that! He’s got strots,” said Callaghan, pointing at one of the baby liligers.


“A mixture of stripes and dots.”


The liger and her liliger cub at the Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia

The liger and her liliger cub at the Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia


In other animal marking news, my current favorite eye makeup look is sparkly pink shadow with a matte black overlaid on the lids:


Friday, 21 June 2013


Can you see it? (Don’t mind the hair. I had the front chopped and deep layers cut all around for growing-out purposes.)

While I’m at it, here are some pics of us goofing around before we left the house this morning:


Goofing around on  Friday, 21 June 2013


Goofing around on  Friday, 21 June 2013


A bonus cool thing that happened today - our state ID and drivers license arrived in the mail! Texas state residencies established, check.

A bonus cool thing that happened today – our state ID and drivers license arrived in the mail! Texas state residencies established, check.


Happy Summer Solstice, Everyone!